Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What If???

I'm a HUGE fan of industrial tours. My dad started me off as a kid by taking me to the Blue Diamond Almond factory somewhere out in California. He is a wonder source of trivia. Did you know that Godiva Chocolate is actually owned by Campbell's Soup??? Or the umbrella company, anyway. We added a bunch of interesting tours to our family road trips as kids- Bunny Bread (which is the N'awlins equivalent of Wonder Bread), Russell Ice Cream, Coors Beer, Hershey, Gerber baby food, blah, blah, blah...

The best with Dad was in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Know what is there? KELLOGG CEREALS! It was great- free sugar cereal at the end!!! I never knew that flake cereal really are flakes!! I had somehow imagined in my crazy brain that some machine sort of blobbed out flake-shaped stuff. But it turns out that they roll this paste out onto these huge drums and let it dry. And as it dries- it flakes!! For real!!

Then in my teacher life I always got to take plenty of industrial tours of the field-trip variety. At that point I was mostly just praying that children didn't mortify me publicly and that I had a constant head count. When I was teaching at M.D. Anderson I was able to take small groups of children to some really cool places (hello- skiing in Utah!!??). One of those industrial tour field trips with those kids was to the Houston Chronicle.

It was SO NEAT! I am a big newspaper person. Get one in every place I visit just so I can see what all is newsworthy there. I do the crossword and jumble every night. (Sudoku can go to Hell. Damn numbers.) And Dear Abby and the ethics columns make me swoon.

Did you know that they use something like two tons of paper every MINUTE when they are printing the paper? It is unreal! The operation is truly 24/7. It's mostly computerized layout and stuff now... though I was shocked that there was still one point in the whole process that uses the real old fashioned cut and paste. The tour gave us the inside scoop on the whole deal- from the ideas and reporters offices to the truck drivers and street urchins that hawk the paper.

Now here was what stuck with me: They actually print a huge portion of the paper BEFORE the day it goes out. For example, the food section (a favorite of mine) comes out on Wednesdays. But they actually print it on Sunday nights! And the majority of the Sunday paper is printed on Wednesday night and ready to go by Thursday morning.

Well... do you know what is in the Sunday paper? The weddings. So that means that the wedding announcements are largely actually printed PRIOR to the couple making the trip down the aisle. Seems risky to me.

I've thought about this a lot. And I've decided that if I were scheduled to get married on Saturday and I had actually shelled out the $2000+ to print it up in the paper the ceremony would go on. I don't care if he suddenly called my momma a fat whore. That wedding shit would be happening. The newspaper gets sent out to something like a MILLION people- literally!

And if my husband stood me up..... well- I just don't know.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


We've been hit by strep. The Boss Man and Scrappy are infected by bacteria. Yes, 50% of our household is now running fever and laid up- thank The Good Lord (and Pasteur) for antibiotics. Also, many thanks go to our good friends Crazy Harry, the pcp, and Charlotte, the pediatrician, for bucking the system and giving us all preventative prescriptions of amoxicillin for when the other 50% of the family goes down. God willing and the creek don't rise, this won't happen.

Found out yesterday that we shared the strep throat love with a friend we played with over the weekend. Oops. sorry.

Clearly this stuff is contagious as Hell.

But you know, all kinds of things are contagious- wildly so.

I've been struck lately by the way attitudes are spread throughout our society. Have you ever noticed that when you're waiting in a doctor's office you are affected by the mood of those around you? When you walk and and everyone is sitting glowering, bitching about the wait time, snarling at children, and generally foul humored it is absolutely catching. I hate it- especially when I'm contributing to the situation. Which happens more than I even like to admit to myself.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is marvelous. The amount of money that the event raises every year to benefit students everywhere is mindblowing. And who wouldn't like to go hang out at a place that serves fried pop-tarts and funnel cakes?? But let me tell you what I think is even better- the attitudes of the volunteers who work there. I simply cannot get over how friendly everyone is. AND THE HAPPINESS IS CONTAGIOUS. When a volunteer wearing a cool cowboy vest and badge notices me trying to read the map about where the goats and pigs are and offers to walk my family there, I am awed. And consequently I even more lovingly compliment the presenters on their prized animals. And then in turn those presenters are more eager to answer questions from the next batch of visitors. And so on.... I'm telling you, the rodeo is the friendly place to be.

A close friend of mine (who I've never even actually met in real life!!) had a crummy day earlier this week. And here's what I noticed about her day: It wasn't actually the events of the day that made it so awful- it was the attitudes of those around her that affected the way she felt. She was trying to do good for a lot of people and those she loved were in a bad mood and NOT keeping it to themselves. Not particularly appreciative, if you know what I mean. It certainly made her mood to go shit, as well.

I was so impressed that the next day she got up, pulled herself up by her bootstraps, and told the world that she was going to change it- simply by her attitude. And it worked! Not only was her daughter in better humor (which I am sure was helped along by her mother's affable countenance) but she even got a home-made dinner on the table (a feat I have yet to achieve in the past two weeks), baking completed, and a two year old kept content and stimulated! Wow- way to go lady!

So, my friends, let's all go out and try to set wildfires today. I'm going to take inspiration from my friend and set those around me ablaze with my fierce optimism. Or go down trying, anyway. Who knows- maybe it will stave off the strep throat, too????

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Boss Man

He'll never admit to his power. As a matter of fact, he says that he is the lowest on the totem pole around here- after the kids, the house, the animals that we used to have, the social and household obligations.... he gets his needs met when the rest of us are all tucked away fat and happy.

There's probably some truth to that.

But I still call him The Boss Man because he likes to have his hand in everything that is going on around him. I've never worked for him- don't really want to, either- but I have some small sense that he micromanages. And here at the house he is kind of my boss. If I think we need a new dryer, I pretty much need to get his thoughts and approval before it's purchased. He is very involved in darn near every aspect of how the daily life/ routine goes around here- and often critical of it.

But I love him for it. I appreciate having a partner that cares so much about what we're doing that he feels the need to be in the middle of it. I often could use a little bit more of a sense that he trusts me to get things done, but it's not a deal breaker.

My dearie, The Boss Man.